Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for.’
Professor Leavitt, an expert in organizational behavior and management at the school’s College of Business, insists the findings have never been more relevant, in an era when we are all expected to respond to emails after-hours.
He warns the study showed that people who left their work-related stress at home, and allowed themselves a window of intimacy every day, had better work and sex lives.
Sexual intercourse triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the reward centers in the brain.
It also lets off oxytocin, a neuropeptide associated with social bonding and attachment.
That makes sex a natural and relatively automatic mood elevator and the benefits extend well into the next day, Professor Leavitt said.
To understand the impact of sex on work, the researchers documented 159 married employees over the course of two weeks, asking them to complete two surveys a day.
Overwhelmingly, employees who had sex were in more positive moods the next day.
And the elevated mood levels in the morning led to more sustained work engagement and job satisfaction throughout the workday.
The effect, which appears to linger for at least 24 hours, was equally strong for both men and women.
It was present even after researchers took into account marital satisfaction and sleep quality, which are two common predictors of daily mood.
‘This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it’s important to make it a priority,’ Professor Leavitt said. ‘Just make time for it.’
Twenty years ago, monitoring sleep or daily step counts or actively practicing mindful meditation might’ve seemed odd but now they are all things people practice as part of efforts to lead healthier, more productive lives.
It may be time to rethink sex and its benefits as well, he said.
‘Making a more intentional effort to maintain a healthy sex life should be considered an issue of human sustainability, and as a result, a potential career advantage,’ he said.
U.S. employers probably won’t follow the lead of a town councilman in Sweden who recently proposed that local municipal employees be allowed to use an hour of their work week for sex. The councilman’s hope is to boost the town’s declining population as well as improve employee moods and productivity.
However, employers here can steer their employee engagement efforts more broadly toward work-life balance policies that encourage workers to disconnect from the office, Leavitt said.
The French recently enacted a law that bars after-hours email and gives employees a ‘right to disconnect.’
‘Technology offers a temptation to stay plugged in, but it’s probably better to unplug if you can,’ he said. ‘And employers should encourage their employees to completely disengage from work after hours.’